I remember being in college and seeing the cover of a magazine with this photo on it. It had a headline "This Photo is Fake" and it proceeded to explain that it was made by a computer. I looked as closely as I could, at each detail, and it was utterly realistic. I was stunned. (I also had no idea that a year later I would be working with those guys.)
Recently I found a very cool posting in the FXGuide about a podcast they did with Rob Cook, the "author" of this photo, and still a scientist at Pixar. "This year is the 25th Anniversary of the Pixar 1984 pool ball shot," the posting noted. The post reads in part:
With the release of the critically acclaimed film UP by Pixar, we acknowledge that 2009 marks 25 years since the famous Pool Ball shot 1984. In this week's fxpodcast we talk to Rob Cook of Pixar about the some of the history surrounding that landmark shot, his own career and the industry today.
Chapter 21 of Droidmaker is called My Breakfast with Andre and it tells the back story in this era, and puts that photo in the larger context of the birth of Pixar. If this part of history resonates for you, check out Act III from DROIDMAKER. And if you're a 3D artist, you might enjoy the efforts depicted in the FXGuide posting about re-creating that image.